763.72/12263: Telegram

The Ambassador in Italy ( Page ) to the Secretary of State

2370. Department’s 1828, November 13th.6 See my telegrams from number 2341 to 23557 and for former situation see my despatch number 1005, September 17th.8

General trend of Italian opinion today on Adriatic and Jugo-Slav question might be summarized thus:

1.
Sentiment of Italian Government of Istrian and Dalmatian cities even of those not included in pact of London is sincere desire to be [Page 296]united with Italy. This sentiment though aided by Italians was not created by them.
2.
Long-standing belief among Italians assures me Croatians and Jugo-Slav[s] are troublemakers and racial enemies of Italy apparently justified by recent developments and attitude.
3.
Croat element in Dalmatia and Istria tends to Bolsheviks and would appear to justify urgent appeals from Italians in those towns for armed intervention to preserve order.
4.
Thoughtful Italian element desires modification pact London not for imperialistic purposes of increasing claims, but in order to secure harmony and lasting peace in complex Adriatic situation. Pact London did not take into consideration dismemberment Austria-Hungary. This now opens opportunity to relate nationalist groupings in Dalmatia. Italy wants no people of other races; considers them a danger but insists upon all that was and is Italian.
5.
Opinion regarding Fiume divided some stating permanent Italian control debatable, though prominence given, with the permission of Government, to demonstrations and propaganda [which?] will render future renunciation difficult.
6.
Italian Government’s attitude somewhat uncertain while awaiting decisions made by Allies regarding Austria-Hungary, as on this depends Adriatic situation.
7.
The nation almost unanimous in relying upon Sonnino to maintain its aspirations.
8.
Italians feel that America will be best judge after complexity of situation is studied and understood.

Nelson Page
  1. Not printed.
  2. Telegram 2346 is printed ante, p. 185; 2342, 2349, 2351, and 2355 are printed on pp. 292 293; 2353 is printed in vol. i, p. 442; others not printed.
  3. Foreign Relations, 1918, supp. 1, vol. i, p. 832.